Season 8 has begun on PES2014, and with it the serious business of trying to actually win things. Until now I’ve just been squad-building and finding my feet in this new-old game. I’ve even recently had my first wobbly session, in which the game seemed like more work than pleasure.
That ‘wobble factor’ is an intrinsic part of football gaming when you indulge in the pastime as much as I do. There’ll always be stretches when you’re just not that into it. I always remember the late Terry Wogan saying his then thrice-weekly chat show had to be bland and routine sometimes, because that’s how things become beloved.
I play nearly every day and that kind of routine has to generate a wobbly session or two. Time passes and a football game matures in your hands. It’s unavoidable.
The more wobbly footy games show themselves through a sustained kind of dispirited disinterest that the Internet age renders as ‘meh’. So far that has not been the fate of PES2014. I’ll make a bold prediction that it won’t happen to PES2014 at any stage.
Looking back, the ‘meh’ factor has arguably never happened to any PES game until long past the stage of ‘completion’, when I might have played for a season or two too long. It tends to be the FIFA games that get the ‘meh’ treatment. But I have digressed.
A new Home kit for Season 8, and a chance to try out one of my favourite homebrew types of kits: the chequerboard pattern. (Or the Croatia-style as I still think of it, thanks to those classic early 2000s strips.)
Those shorts and socks are not black, but very dark blue.
I left the Away kit alone. It’s a rare match when I get to play in my black-and-orange kit, and it’ll take another few seasons for it to start to seem old.
Onto the transfer market, and I had a pleasant surprise,. After 7 seasons of scrapping for journeymen, I was pleased to see that some useful players want to play for me now. My 5th-place finish and Europa League qualification obviously counts for something.
I treated myself to one of PES2014’s Regen wunderkinder. I could have had a few more of them, but I don’t want to give my team – and this PES – an artificial feel. You know, no more of an artificial feel than something made of pixels, plastic and imagination could possess, anyway.
Robbie Keane was the wunderkind. A former real-life Coventry City player, of course. Our record signing at the time. I wasn’t actually there at Highfield Road in 1999 when the stadium announcer proudly introduced him as ‘…Roy Keane!!!’, but I wish I had been. Wonderful days.
My List of Targets was suddenly populated with great players. Loads of players rated 85 and above with a better-than-80% chance of signing. I rubbed my hands with something like glee and got down to business.
I didn’t go crazy. I have team spirit and Heart and all that stuff to consider. And I wanted to save some cash for mid-season. I might get there and need another top striker urgently. I settled for a couple of established 25-year-olds, Bianchi at AMF and Ceballos at CB. Plenty of cash in the bank for a mid-season transfer raid if needed.
Here’s my full Season 8 Squad and preferred First XI:
This lot have got to be good for a Champions League finish, and good progress in the Europa League, I’m thinking. Famous last words…